Champaign, Ill.: The Fighting Illini Swim and Dive team fought hard in dual meet competition with Big Ten rival Nebraska, but fall 178-122 to the Cornhuskers. Despite the loss, the Orange and Blue picked up 6 first place finishes, broke a pool record, and set an attendance record for the ARC for Senior Day.
head coach Sue Novitsky paid credit to the 9 Seniors who were honored, saying, “They have competed and worked hard for us for four years in the pool and also in the classroom. We have two school record holders in this graduating class and I have always been able to rely on them to step up for the team.” Our 9 seniors, Emily Bolger, Abby Cabush, Maddy Crosby, Kaylee Heimes, Caroline Hippen, Sidney Kennedy, abby martin, Lauren Partridge, and Taylor Shegos, are all set to graduate in May of 2022 and have committed all four years of collegiate swimming to the Illinois program.
Despite losing to the Cornhuskers on Saturday, head coach Sue Novitsky continues to look upward, “I don’t define our team with wins or losses, there were a lot of improvements made today and in the grand scheme of things, it comes down to how you define success.” The Fighting Illini were edged out by Nebraska with a score of 178-122, with Nebraska taking both diving events and Illinois getting the two relay events.
The Fighting Illini were led by senior Abby Cabush, sophomore Laurel Bludge, and sophomore Cara Bognar. Cabush finished first in 3 of her 4 events, placing second in the other. Cabush also broke the ARC Pool record in the 200 Freestyle, clocking a time of 1:48.68, and also placed first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.37. Bludgen contributed to relay wins in both the 200 Medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay, and placing first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.88. Bognar found a place on the podium in all three of her appearances, placing first in the 400 Individual Medley (4:23.49), and second in the 1650 Freestyle (17:13.85) and the 200 Butterfly (2:04.09).
ON THE BOARDS
Of the four diverse competing for Illinois, Taylor Michael was the only one to end up on the podium, doing so in both of the diving events with a score of 256.88 in the one-meter and a personal-best 312.90 in the three-meter. Brooke Michael also saw a good day on the boards, breaking her personal best score in the 3-meter for the second time in a row with a score of 296.93. Senior Maddy Crosby capped off a great career at the ARC with a personal best score of her own with 278.25 in the 3-meter.
The Orange and Blue will travel to West Lafayette to face Purdue in their last dual meet before the Big Ten Championships. Competition will begin at 10 am CT at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center.